The Texans practiced at the Methodist Training Center Wednesday, and after, answered questions from the media. Also, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and safety Bernard Pollard took part in a conference call with the Houston media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary KubiakOffensive Coordinator Rick DennisonT Duane BrownILB Brian CushingTE Owen DanielsRB Arian FosterWR Derrick MasonOLB Brooks ReedQB Matt SchaubDE Antonio SmithWR Kevin WalterRB Derrick WardDE J.J. Watt
Baltimore Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh Conference CallBaltimore Ravens SS Bernard Pollard Conference Call
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on the injuries) "Matt (Schaub) did not practice today and obviously Andre (Johnson) didn't practice. Matt's just got a sore shoulder and a banged up thigh, so we'll give him today. Hopefully he'll be back out here tomorrow. We gave lefty (Matt Leinart) and the young kid (T.J. Yates) all the reps. Andre did work a little bit today, so that's a move in the right direction. Other than that, everybody else went."
(on if WR Andre Johnson is out for Sunday's game) "I think the approach is no, but he amazes you how far he's come so quickly and what he did today has got a smile on everybody's face, I can tell you that."
(on what he expects from WR Derrick Mason) "I have to see. First off, I didn't have him out here today. He's not through with his physical and stuff. I know he's played for a few friends of mine, so I know what he knows. Terminology-wise, I got to see how quick I can get him ready to help us in this game. As of now, I haven't visited with him, so it's hard to say."
(on how hard it is to get WR Derrick Mason ready in a short amount of time) "Well, it's hard, but when you got a veteran guy, I'm sure I'll be comfortable getting him to the point where he's got a small package to go into the game with and help us out. I'll see. I'll see where he's at."
(on what he likes about WR Derrick Mason) "We played about two games, maybe two and half games with three healthy wide receivers, so it's really been scary from that standpoint. We had a chance to go get a guy that still runs very well even though he's played a long time in this League. He's been very effective in this League and we feel like we can catch him up real fast, so that was a big key and worth us bringing him in here and giving him a chance to help us out."
(on if he could see WR Derrick Mason playing this Sunday) "Yeah I could, but like I said, let me spend a day or two with him. Let me just see where he's at mentally and how much of our stuff overlaps with what he's been doing and hopefully that'll happen."
(on the other transactions) "We released David (Anderson) and we released Obi (Chris Ogbonnaya). We brought Trindon (Holliday) back. Trindon's coming back to return, help us return. You got to know that Jacoby's (Jones) playing a lot of plays, 70-plus plays. Danieal Manning's playing 60-plus plays the other day, so we brought Trindon back to help us in that area. We activated Jesse Nading in Mario's spot. Got a couple of practice squad guys, Thaddeus Gibson from Ohio State and hopefully I'm right, Juaquin Iglesias from Oklahoma. He's told me he's from Dallas or somewhere, so he's a Texan."
(on if RB Chris Ogbonnaya is headed to the practice squad) "No, I don't know right now. Obviously, I like Chris (Ogbonnaya). Ya'll know that. There's a process we have to go through for him to clear waivers, so we'll see what happens."
(on how WR Jacoby Jones will fit in with WR Derrick Mason on the team) "Jacoby's (Jones) a starter. He's a starter. I tell ya'll the same way I talked the last two days, he did some good things in the game, ran some great routes and when he did that, it just seemed like we broke down in protection or the ball got tipped and then when we did hold up in protection or we're ready to make a good throw, then we didn't win. It was a combination of things, but he's our starter. He's got to step up and make plays for us. I wasn't disappointed in his effort at all. Obviously I'd like him to make some plays with the ball in his hand like some of the other guys did."
(on FB James Casey) "James is day-to-day. He did run in everything today, did not practice today. He has a strained pec (pectoral), probably be a weekend decision with him."
(on the Ravens defense) "They're exceptional. I think they're number two in the League right now. You got two Hall of Famers on the defense and have been playing together forever. It just seems like forever. I played against them in Denver many a times in the playoffs. They're built around those two guys and the group together is just incredible. They do a lot of stuff, cause you a lot of problems and we got to go do it at their place."
(on if it looks like ILB Ray Lewis or S Ed Reed have lost anything) "Not from what I've seen. They're something. Actually (Executive Vice President/General Manager) Rick (Smith) walked in my office last night, late last night and I was telling him how much those two guys amaze me. They've been doing it at that level for a long, long time."
(on OLB Brooks Reed) "Well, he'll be our starter. He did play well in the game. His role becomes a little different on this team. I got to give him a break on special teams somehow because he's a full-time player now and a starter. That's what we drafted him for. His opportunity's come a little quicker than we thought, but we're expecting him to play well."
(on running backs Ben Tate and Derrick Ward) "They're good. They're fine. They practiced today. They should both be fine."
(on WR Trindon Holliday and OLB Jesse Nading) "Jesse's going to play big for (Special Teams Coordinator) Joe (Marciano). He'll play in everything on special teams. He will be a backup to Connor (Barwin) on the strong side, so he'll get some reps there. As far as Trindon, like I said, what my thought process is, our two returners are starters that have played a ton of football. We need to make sure we're being fair to those guys from a freshness standpoint, so we're bringing Trindon back to hopefully give us a little bit in the return game and hopefully play a few special teams for us, so we'll see what happens."
(on how much he's talked to Special Teams Coordinator Joe Marciano this week) "We've talked way too much because it's been good. It's been really good up to this point. It's like anything else, when your team has injuries, it's a trickledown effect and it goes straight to your special teams. That's kind of to me what happened last week. We got guys nicked. We lose Mario (Williams). Brooks (Reed) is playing every play, stuff like that. Then all the sudden, Joe's having to patchwork some guys and I've got to settle him down and give him the people to work with. But it wasn't good enough last week and it's got to get better."
(on not being as productive offensively in the third quarter) "Well, the first thing that jumps at me in the third quarter is the time of possession for a football team is way out of whack. We're on the field defensively in the third quarter and not offensively. It's been just the opposite throughout the rest of the game. We got to change that somehow, some way. Like I said, it's got to improve, but obviously the time of possession is what scares me as a coach when I look at the big picture."
(on how much of the running game suffered without WR Andre Johnson playing) "There's been some people say they stacked the box on Arian (Foster) and I don't see it that way. We had our opportunities to run against seven-man fronts and we didn't run it well and we pride ourselves on running against eight-man fronts. That's why we continue to run the ball. I don't see it that way. Them taking Arian away, I just don't think we played as well as we can play. We'll have to play a hell of a lot better this week because this group we're going to line up against is as good as there is. We got to stay committed to the run and do a better job doing it."
Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison(on the running game last week and facing the Ravens defense this week) "We slipped some obviously. We didn't get it done. We weren't as consistent like we have been up to the past, doing the things that we need to up front and staying on the right track as a ball carrier, so we weren't coordinated that way. But we're going to fix that and we'll look forward to it. Obviously with the group we got, you have to be. Everybody's got to be on the same page and you have to be very well coordinated."
(on how much the absence of WR Andre Johnson impacted the offense) "Any time you miss a very good player, Andre's a really good player and he's going to make so many plays in the game, so we missed those plays, but we had guys step up. That's no excuse. We got who we had out in the field and we got to make plays."
(on how good the Ravens defense is) "They're a great defense. They got a lot of talent up front particularly and then the back end with Ed Reed, it's a great group. It'll be a very good challenge for us."
(on if he sees anyone on the Ravens defense slowing down due to age) "I don't see anybody slowing down. You watch the film with me. You point it out because I can't find it."
(on the Raiders defense causing problems last week) "Well, like I said, they did a great job and we didn't do so good, so we're trying to fix our end and be able to do all we can to make some plays."
(on how the offense changes if FB James Casey can't play) "Well, next guy steps up. It's like anybody else, if we have somebody go down, we're going to miss them, but somebody's got to go out there and compete. Maybe our versatility isn't what it was before, but we'll make do."
(on if he's familiar enough with WR Derrick Mason to trust him) "Just watching him on film, I've never been around him coaching, but watching him on film, I think he's a talented player that can help us. We'll get him in here, coach him up and see if he can work on Sunday."
(on if he's ever prepared in the past to go against WR Derrick Mason) "Yeah, but I've never been on that side of the ball, obviously. I'm old enough to remember when he came out. I was coaching special teams and I really liked him as a returner, but we couldn't pull the trigger in Denver."
(on WR Jacoby Jones' performance last week) "The ball was tipped a few times. That was some things that happened with various between the blitzes. It's not one thing or another. He did some good things and he got open. He made a couple plays. We'll just keep working."
(on the last play of the game against the Raiders) "Well, everything happens so fast. Hopefully he (Matt Schaub) stays and he's not having to flush because we had one coming open on the other side. If he slides, we had some guys that weren't exactly where they should have been. That's one of the little things or a lot of the little things that didn't happen right on Sunday. If somebody would've cleared open, there's a lot of things happen and the only thing he should've done is made a play and scored."
(on if QB Matt Schaub should have thrown the ball away on the last play of the game against the Raiders) "I don't know about anybody else's time clock, I couldn't tell if it was seven seconds gone or not. You don't want to take that risk of spiking the ball and not having a play. If he was going to do that, that would perhaps have been done earlier if he didn't like what was going on and save a play. We just working trying to make an off schedule play."
(on if there's a way to fix situations like the last play of the game against the Raiders) "Well, certainly make sure everybody's doing what they should do. Like I said, there were a lot of little things that were happening that create a bigger complex problem. All you do is coach all the little individual aspects and then it works much better."
(on ILB Ray Lewis and S Ed Reed) "Well, they're so much a part of the big scheme. It's hard to say 'We got to stop him and stop him.' Certainly you don't want to throw a ball up for Ed Reed to find. You got to make sure you got a hat on him, not just Ray Lewis. They've also got some great players up front. They're a big part of their package that we have to deal with."
(on NT Haloti Ngata) "He's a big man and it's really hard to contain him or keep two bodies on him. We're going to do all we can on him, stay in front of him and hopefully we get a crease around him or over him."
T Duane Brown(on how frustrating it was when balls were getting tipped at the line of scrimmage against Oakland) "It's very frustrating because you feel like the protection is somewhat decent and somebody's open, but just couldn't quite get it over those guys. Like I said, it's one of the tallest defensive lines in the League and just good instincts. Even when they didn't get a good rush, they did a great job of timing that up."
(on if he expects Baltimore to try to tip balls at the line of scrimmage as well) "I'm not sure. They got some pretty tall guys over there as well. I'm sure they're probably going to stick to whatever game plan they had anyway, but I'm sure they probably noticed it a little bit."
ILB Brian Cushing(on the defense getting better each week) "I agree with him. I think I'm a guy that I believe there is no surface, no max out of capabilities or anything. Collectively, we want to be the best. I just want to add to that. I want to help the team the best that I can and we're going to work towards that every single day. Without OTAs and certain things, this defense I feel still is learning with certain techniques and assignments. I really believe we're getting there."
(on how he feels compared to his rookie season) "I'm going to be better. I'm going to be better because I'm smarter, I'm older, I'm more mature and that was two years ago. I feel I'm a completely better football now and I just got to continue to grow upon that."
(on going up against the Ravens defense) "There's no hiding it. It's our defense versus theirs and we understand that. It's a matchup that we're looking forward to. It was the same with Pittsburgh. Any time you play against such a recognized defense, a hard physical team, you want to show up and you want to show what you got as well."
(on the challenge of playing on the road in Baltimore) "There's going to be no question. It's going to be a great game. It's going to be a hard, physical game. They're a very good football team. They have been for years. They've been the staple of good defenses. They've been the staple of playing physical. This is the kind of team you watch growing up and hope to play like a like theirs one day. We'll definitely be watching them, but at the same time, we're just going to try to match them as best we can."
(on OLB Brooks Reed) "We got confidence in him. I know I personally have a lot of confidence in Brooks (Reed). Being a rookie, I see the raw talent he has. I see the capabilities he definitely has to make plays, step up and replace Mario (Williams). You're not really ever going to fully replace a guy like that. I think Brooks understands that. I think everyone does. With losing a guy like Mario, it's kind of a next guy up attitude and I think Brooks is the perfect role for it."
TE Owen Daniels(on the Ravens defense) "They got a ton of experience and a ton of talent obviously. You could pick any position group out of that defense and they've got a guy that's been playing for a long time and been to a bunch of Pro Bowls. They're really sound. The good thing is we played against them last year and had some success, so we'll see what we can do against them this year."
(on if S Bernard Pollard can hang with him) "Can he hang with me? He'll probably get the assignment to cover me. We'll see. It'll be fun. I really didn't get to go against him that much last year during camp or anything like that because I was injured. All those guys are tough to get open on, so we'll see."
(on if S Bernard Pollard will be trash talking during the game) "Well we know he'll talk. That's just part of his game. I'll just try to ignore it a little bit I think. That's what I'll do."
(on if he's a good trash talker) "Maybe, if I have enough breath to talk then I'll talk, but I'm usually I'm too dang tired to say much. I just try to let the play speak for itself. We're out there a lot. The tight ends are out there a lot, so it's tough. I think we ran like 80 plays last weekend, so not a lot of trash talking from me."
(on how to beat the Ravens defense) "Well, when they bring pressure, we got to be able to capitalize on it and we didn't. That was the issue last week. They brought a lot of pressure, a lot of zero blitz and we didn't take advantage of those situations. They got to us and we didn't make the plays. If we can identify their guys and be on our assignments and convert when they're bringing those blitzes and convert on some third downs, if you can get to that next first down and keep those drives alive, that's what you want."
RB Arian Foster(on ILB Ray Lewis playing like he's 25 years old) "He plays like he's young and he's going to do it as long as he can."
(on the challenges of the Ravens defense) "They present so (many) challenges. They do everything very well. They know each other very well and on top of that, they're some of the best athletes in our game today, so it just makes it that much more difficult."
(on the keys to be successful on offense) "Just to stay on schedule, do what we do best and don't make any mistakes. Minimize as much mistakes as possible."
(on bouncing back after a difficult loss to the Raiders) "Well I think we have to. We don't have a choice. We bounced back pretty well after the New Orleans game, but the thing about the NFL is you have to put a string of Ws together in order to be successful, so that's what we're planning to do and that's what we're going to try to do."
(on players stepping up when there are injuries) "Well I think it's important. That's the NFL life is injuries. They happen and you have to adjust. Guys have to step up and make plays. Everybody has to bring up their level of play that much more."
(on the biggest concern about the Ravens defense) "Moving the ball. They stop offenses from doing that very well, so we have to stay on schedule and make sure we don't make a lot of mistakes."
WR Derrick Mason(on the Houston Texans) "I come to a situation (with) a team that's winning, a young team, an exciting team, so I'm happy to be here."
(on how he would describe coming to a new team) "A breath of fresh air. Just coming to a situation where they want you and they believe in what you can do, and you can just go out there and play and have fun. That's all."
(on if it helps to know what the Ravens do defensively as he tries to learn Houston's offense) "Yeah, I mean, I've played these guys now, what? This will be the second time in three weeks, so I've known (Baltimore Defensive Coordinator) Chuck (Pagano) for a long time and he's a very good coach, a former defensive back coach and now a defensive coordinator, so he's always going to have some things up his sleeve. He's going to put a lot of pressure on you and you've got to be able to handle it. I'm very confident that what I've seen of this Texans team, they can handle what Coach (Pagano) throws at them. It's going to be difficult, but I think we'll be up for the challenge."
(on the Houston offense with QB Matt Schaub and head coach Gary Kubiak) "From what I've observed, this is a very good offense, a very good scheme. Every time I've gone up against this team, they've put up a lot of yardage and a lot of points, so for an offensive player, that's a dream. So coming here, I'm familiar with what they like to do. I'm still working my way through the playbook, but I'm familiar with the run game – awesome run game – the pass game, Matt Schaub. We've got something very good here. It's good to be in a situation where a bunch of coaches and guys want you here."
(on what he can bring to the Texans offense) "I think some leadership; a guy that's going to go out there and play hard, give it his all. And I think I've still got a lot to prove, so I've still got that chip on my shoulder. So I can bring that chip as well as that veteran leadership that I've been able to acquire over my 15 years of play."
(on WR Kevin Walter saying he learned how to get open by watching him play on video) "In this game, you have to figure out ways to get open. Your speed will go; you still have your quickness, but you have to figure out a way to get open in this league. You have to be able to read on the run. I've had great coaching and I've been able to be coachable, so a lot of what I've learned is through a lot of good coaching and being able to go out there and read on the run. That's all football is, reading on the run and, as a wide receiver, finding the holes and catching the ball, and I've been able to do that."
(on playing with WR Andre Johnson when Johnson returns from injury) "It will be very exciting to get an opportunity to line up against probably, a lot of people would argue, but probably the best wide receiver in the game. I think (he's) the total package, so it would be very exciting to line up with him as well as (WR Kevin) Walter and the other wideouts, and then Matt Schaub at quarterback. You can't beat it. You just go out there and you play and you have fun and you do your assignment."
(on his time with the New York Jets) "I'm done, I just want to put that behind me as quickly as possible. They can continue to talk about it if they want, but I've got a job to do, and that's to come here and play good football. I can't worry about what happened in New York. I enjoyed my two months there, if it was that. I enjoyed (New York Jets Head Coach) Rex (Ryan). I've been knowing Rex for a long time, but things just don't last. Sometimes you go in with one thought as an organization and then you come out with another, so I think it was a win-win for everybody. I'm not upset. Like I said, I'm going to put it behind me as quickly as possible and move on."
(on if being traded to Houston surprised him) "Yeah, it did but nothing in this League surprises me no more. I try not to, but sometimes it catches you off-guard. But, you know, it happened and I've said it before, you just find a way to pick up the pieces as quickly as possible and move on. The faster you do that, the more likely you will have some success at your next team. So I'm putting it behind me as quickly as possible. I just want to get to playing football with the Texans."
(on why he still has a chip on his shoulder after all his career accomplishments) "Because someone's always doubting whether I can go out there and play at a high level or not. It's going to remain on my shoulder. I think people look at the age and not the productivity. If you drop a 100 or 200 yards, all of the sudden the guy's going downhill. It wasn't my fault that I dropped 200 yards. It was just we had more weapons in Baltimore, adding Anquan (Boldin) and Ray Rice. So, your role will get kind of diminished when you just catch the ball when it comes to you and I've been able to do that. What I'm able to do out there on the field hasn't diminished; the numbers may have, but if you watch me week-in and week-out, it's the same guy."
(on the Houston Texans organization welcoming him and wanting him here) "That's a good thing, that's a good thing. It's one thing to come into a situation where everyone's still wondering whether you can get it done or hoping you can get it done, and come into a situation where they know you can get it done and still have a lot to give and excited about that. That's good and I'm going to enjoy this run that we're going to go on. It's going to be a nice run, so hopefully it'll end up in Indy. I'm looking forward to that."
(on if his immediate focus this week will be to play on Sunday) "I will play Sunday. I will play Sunday. I'm going to do whatever I need to do to play Sunday and not just because it's Baltimore or just because I want to be out there. I'm a football player. I want to be out on the field. I'm a competitor, so I'm going to do whatever I need to do to make sure that I'm able to play on Sunday. I'll be in the playbook all night tonight, tomorrow morning, all the way up until Sunday to make sure that whatever plays that I'm called to run, I'm able to run them."
(on if it's crazy to being playing Baltimore so quickly again) "Yeah, I didn't think I was going to be able to play them again until probably playoffs. Maybe I'll get them three times; earlier with the Jets, now here and then I'm looking forward to hopefully playing them in the playoffs as well."
(on playing Tennessee the week after Baltimore) "Yeah, so I get to go home, too. Like I said, it's a win-win, it's a win-win. But I'm just excited to be here. I'm going to enjoy being back on the practice field, being myself again."
OLB Brooks Reed(on what it's like to have all the focus on him now) "It's kind of crazy, kind of first time, but it's expected. A big player like Mario (Williams) going down and the rookie having to step up."
(on trying to fill in for OLB Mario Williams) "I'm going to contribute the best I can and I know no one's expecting me to produce as much as Mario, but I think it'll be a collective effort."
(on if there's pressure on him now) "Yeah, obviously there's a lot of pressure. I'm a rookie and first year playing and stepping in for a Pro Bowler. There's pressure, but I like that. I think I'll respond well to it."
(on how much it helped playing a lot against the Raiders) "It helped a lot. That was my first game, first real in-season game getting a lot of reps, so that definitely helped out a lot."
(on the Texans drafting him to be ready for this kind of situation) "Yeah, I expected that. All through camp playing as a backup role and obviously on all the special teams and just preparing myself if one of the guys went down. That just so happened, unfortunately. I'm ready to go."
(on what he found out about himself after playing against the Raiders) "I got out there and I didn't feel too much pressure and I felt pretty relaxed. I was just out there having fun, just like how I did in college. It's the same feeling."
QB Matt Schaub(on missing practice) "I want to be out there every day, but a little rest and I'll be ready to go this weekend."
(on if being banged up is any concern to him) "No. Everything will be fine. It's just, you know, the battles of the season. You've just got to deal with some stuff but you keep plugging."
(on what concerns him about the Baltimore defense) "Yeah, they do. Much like we've faced the past few weeks, they are a very physical front. They are aggressive on the back-end. They have some veteran guys that have played a lot of ball. You have to be aware of where they're at and what they're doing and just go out and execute your plan."
(on what he sees on tape with Ray Lewis) "He's still Ray Lewis. He still plays instinctive, reacts to what he sees. He's seen virtually everything that you can throw at him. You just have to know where he is and much like number 20 on the back-end (Ed Reed), you've got to know where he's at and 55 up front (Terrell Suggs). They have a ton of playmakers and you've got to account for them wherever they are."
(on what Bernard Pollard brings to their defense) "He brings energy to the game. He loves to be out there, fly around and make plays and hit people. He's a good football player."
(on if Pollard's knowledge of the Texans offense will make much of an impact) "I don't think so."
(on Kubiak saying time of possession was an issue against the Raiders) "Oh yeah. When you look at the Pittsburgh game, we had three plays in the third quarter. Last week, we started off with the ball. It's a lack of plays, lack of time of possession. When we have it, we have to keep it and move the ball and score."
(on the team starting better but struggling in the third quarter) "Like I said, we've just got to execute the plays when we have them. We have to stay on the field when we have the ball. We need time of possession. We need downs."
(on WR Derrick Mason) "He's been a heck of a player for a long time in this League. He's a great receiver, so we're glad to have him on board. We've got to catch him up on things and see what he can do to help us."
(on having RBs Arian Foster, Ben Tate and Derrick Ward healthy this week) "As you move through the season, you're going to have guys in and out of the lineup. You want to have your full compliment, your full weapons and have all of them healthy and ready to go. That would just add to our effectiveness in the ground game."
(on if he would be comfortable with having WR Derrick Mason out on the field Sunday or if that is too quick) "I don't think so. He's played enough ball in this League. Getting him caught up on our routes, we're not asking him to do too much as far as our scheme, but giving him a package of plays that he knows and have him go out and execute. I think that could be fine, but we'll get plenty of work and talk and work through things."
(on how he rebounds from the last game) "You just go to the next down, the next game and just keep playing. It's a long season. Obviously, we didn't finish the one the way we wanted to last week but the more you think about it and the more you dwell on it, the more you're hurting yourself for this week. So we've got to continue on and go to the next play."
(on if last Sunday was a sleepless night for him) "In many ways, yeah it was, definitely. But you can't change it. What's done is done and you've got to move on and go to the next game."
(on how he's feeling physically) "I feel good. I'm ready to go."
(on the Ravens aggressive style) "We've played a number of teams that play that way. It's an aggressive, physical game. We play that way ourselves and so it's not going to change anything we do. We're going to go and match it head on."
DE Antonio Smith(on QB Joe Flacco only completing 49 percent of his passes) "They got a good running game though, so they're trying to run the ball hard. We're going to try hard to get to him. I think he's able to be gotten to. I think we're doing good in rushing this year. Last week, they had only gave up two sacks. I think we got three in one game. It looks like on film we could've had five or six. We're going to try whatever we can do throughout the week to figure out how to get to him as a D-line."
(on OLB Mario Williams being out) "That's a tough one. It's a tough one, but I think we got the people here to get it done. I watched film twice this week and when Brooks Reed came in the game, he had three hits on the quarterback and beat the tackle I think three or four times, just clean beat him. I think he has the ability to rush. I think that's what we brought him here for. He's got to do it now."
(on if losing WR Andre Johnson and OLB Mario Williams has a psychological impact on the team) "We can't let it have a psychological impact. We got to fight against that. To me, it doesn't. I still have the same thoughts in my mind, the same goals, still feels the same, still positive. Everybody else is still positive in the locker room. We just got to do what we got to do to pick up the slack for those two players."
(on RB Ray Rice) "Ray Rice, good running back. From what I'm seeing, he can make one cut and it's over, so I think everybody's got to be technically sound. If we're technically sound, we can stop their running game, but if we make a mistake on the back end, it's just like our running game with the way Arian (Foster) cuts. If he finds that back hole, it can be 80 out the gate. I think if we play good technique, play our type of football, we'll stop their running game."
WR Kevin Walter(on how challenging the Ravens defense is) "Very challenging. It's going to be a dog fight. I've played these guys in my career close to a dozen times and especially at their place, it's going to be a street fight. Those guys are going to come in with a chip on their shoulder and we got to go out there and play physical."
(on ILB Ray Lewis) "He's still playing lights out and they all rally around Ray (Lewis). He does a heck of a job. They got Ed Reed back there. They got a lot of guys making plays. Bernard's (Pollard) going to be back there chirping and saying his thing. He's going to try to hit me in the mouth and I'm going to try to hit him in the mouth and that's what it's all about. It's about going out there, making plays and being physical."
(on the challenges of playing without WR Andre Johnson) "We all got to step up. Like I said at the beginning of last week before last game, we all need to play good. We all got to go out there and make plays. We were one play too short last week. It was very disappointing. You sit down here today and you're still very disappointed about last week. We got to move on because you can't think about last week. You got to go in there and beat a good team on the road this week."
(on playing against FB Vonta Leach) "Vonta (Leach), oh yeah, I got to give him a text. I haven't talked to him yet. I'm going to give him a call when I leave here. He's going to be excited to play and see all of us and we're excited to see him. It's going to be a dog fight. He's going to be out there trying to hit us."
(on WR Derrick Mason) "He's a heck of a player. He's been in the League for 15 years, won a Super Bowl, got a lot of experience, he makes plays. He's got to be doing something right for playing that long in this League. I'm glad we have him on this team. He's going to help this team win football games and I'm excited for him."
(on WR Derrick Mason knowing where to find seams) "You're right, he's a smart player. He's a smart player. He's crafty, very crafty in what he does. I watched him on film before I even met him today. I watch him and he's one of the guys I try to simulate. He's got some good things that not a lot of receivers have and I'm glad he's here. He can help this football team win."
RB Derrick Ward(on how he feels) "I feel great. I feel good, ready to go. I practiced today, so it's all good."
(on if it's good to be back playing again) "It is. It's good to be back out there with my teammates, with Arian (Foster) and Ben (Tate) and LV (Lawrence Vickers) and (James) Casey and all those guys."
(on the Ravens defense) "Week in and week out, we're going to face tough defenses. It's another challenge for us this week. We're going to put together a great game plan and hopefully get it done."
(on ILB Ray Lewis) "He's still playing like he's 25, 26 years old. It's like he's found the fountain of youth. I'm trying to find it, so we'll see how it goes on Sunday. Ray's (Lewis) always going to come with that aggressiveness and leadership for the Ravens, so it's going to be a tough battle for us."
(on if he's excited to see FB Vonta Leach again) "I am. I haven't talked to him. I'll probably talk to him later on today and see where his mind is at and see if I could get a couple ideas from him what they're going to do for the game."
(on if he's prepared to take some snaps with the physical nature of the Ravens defense) "Yeah definitely and hopefully we'll be able to get a nice rotation going in and keep each other healthy throughout the game and hopefully throughout the rest of the season."
DE J.J. Watt(on the Baltimore Ravens) "They're a good football team. Obviously, they've got a good tradition and reputation as a defensive ball club, so we want to go up there and prove ourselves as a good defensive ball club. We're excited about that."
(on Baltimore QB Joe Flacco) "I think he's a good quarterback. He can move around a little bit better than you might expect, so we just need to get back there and get some pressure on him, and hopefully he holds the ball a little bit longer than he should."
(on OLB Brooks Reed taking over as a starter for the injured Mario Williams) "I mean, obviously you'd like to have Mario out there, he's a great football player, but Brooks works his tail off and he's a good football player and we're going to rally as a group. (DE) Antonio (Smith), myself, (OLB) Connor (Barwin), Brooks, we're all going to step up and try to replace that production that Mario brought."
(on if he is pulling for OLB Brooks Reed since they're both rookies) "Absolutely. First off, it's a team brotherhood. We're all Texans, so we need to win, but obviously you want to see your fellow rookies succeed. It's great that he's going to be right next to me so we can go out there and just have some fun together."
(on what the team's response this weekend will say about it) "Yeah. It's all about overcoming adversity. That's what you have to do, and obviously in the NFL, there's plenty of adversity every single week. We have a lot of adversity we're facing right now and we can't sit here and complain about it; we can't sit here and feel sorry for ourselves. We need to go out there and perform."
Baltimore Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh(on the changes made to the Texans defense) "Well, very impressive. Statistically, they're very highly ranked in pretty much every statistical category. I think they've got a lot of good players. The front seven is really, really dynamic, both run and pass. We've got a lot of respect for them from last year. We thought that they were very effective last year. Statistically, they weren't quite as good, but they sure played well against us, especially in the second half. We couldn't do a thing. So we remember that too. We've always had a healthy dose of respect for them."
(on if he's surprised at how quickly the Texans have grasped their new scheme) "I think if you look around the League, there have been stories like that in different places and it's probably not that surprising, just because they have professional players that have played different schemes. Guys know how to play and they obviously have an excellent coach who does a great job and he knows what he wants to do. You can see that there is a real plan to their system and one scheme kind of builds off the next and it all ties together pretty well. They've done a great job."
(on what makes Arian Foster so special as a running back) "He's big and fast and really elusive. He's a guy who can run you over and make you miss. He's got a great burst. I think he's got great vision. I think he's really built for that scheme. He can stretch and run. He can stretch and cut. Pretty much every gap becomes a point of attack with him because of his vision and his ability to take it front-side or back-side. He's just a natural for that scheme it seems like."
(on the play of Brian Cushing so far this season) "I'm not surprised. He's all over the field. He's kind of their primary blitzer. He's sideline to sideline. It seems like all those USC linebackers have done pretty well coming out that year. He's just done a great job."
(on what has stood out to him about J.J. Watt) "Well we really liked J.J. coming out of the draft. I was very impressed when they drafted him where they did. It seemed like a great fit for the scheme they're putting in. He's just one of the greatest guys. We really liked him in our interview process. We just knew he was a tough, hard-nosed guy, a kind of guy you want to have on your team. He's big, long, athletic guy who plays really hard. He's got pass rush ability and is very stout against the run too. I think he's a perfect fit for the scheme they've put in."
(on if he has seen much film on Brooks Reed) "Well, it will be interesting to see what they put in and how they use him and all that. What role he'll fit there and exactly where they're going to play him and all that stuff, but we've seen a little bit this season, preseason and regular season. It confirms what we thought of him in the draft. We studied him in the draft too and he's a high motor guy, very energetic guy. He's always around the ball—a really quick and athletic guy. We've got a lot of respect for him. He's a good player."
(on the reported trade of Derrick Mason to Houston) "I haven't had time to think about it too much. You try to think in terms in how it's going to impact our game planning and where they might use him and how quickly they can get him up to speed and what they can actually ask him to do and stuff like that. That's what we're trying to figure out right now. Obviously, Derrick (Mason) is a really good player and dangerous guy, so we're just trying to figure out how they're going to fit him in there and I don't know if we're going to be able to know that until Sunday."
(on how much WR Derrick Mason has been able to produce even after so many years in the league) "Oh yeah, absolutely. Derrick (Mason) is a great route runner. Derrick is a great route runner and has great hands. He's a guy that anytime he gets any kind of one-on-one coverage, he's not going to be a guy you're going to be able to cover that way. He'll find a way to get open. Matt (Schaub) is a good timing passer and very accurate. He can get him the ball. Derrick is really competitive. He wants to be a big part of what's going on and that's what made him so good all of those years."
(on Bernard Pollard's adjustment in Baltimore) "Well, we're really pleased with it. Obviously, we've been able to use him in some areas where we didn't quite have a guy like that here and he's been able to fill that role. You know the kind of player he is. I don't have to describe him for you but he's fit us well in ways we didn't have a guy like that. Plus, he's just had a great attitude. He's a really hard-working guy and really takes football very seriously. He really wants to have an impact. He's fit in with our team really well."
(on if Vonta Leach has been everything they've hoped for) "Yeah, absolutely. Same thing, just a really great leader. We were just talking about—he's a character guy who's also quite the character, we've come to find. You guys probably already knew that. So we've had lots of laughs. He's on me all the time about being too nervous and stuff like that. He's also helped us with the run game. What's the old saying about the biggest form of flattery is when you copy what someone else is doing? How's that thing go? Help me. 'Imitation is the greatest form of flattery.' Something like that. We've imitated their running game to some extents with the stretch zone scheme. He's really helped us because he's been so well coached by that coaching staff that he's helped us with some of the nuances that have helped us clean some things up. Obviously, we don't do it as well. We haven't been at it as long. Also, obviously he's a heck of a blocker and he's caught five passes for us. He's the kind of guy we really needed. We had another hole there, personnel-wise, and he filled that one as well."
(on if there is a special bond between coaches who grew up in coaching families) "Yeah, I think there is a certain understanding that goes with it. I've never had the chance to spend too much time with Wade (Phillips). We had dinner one time at one of the owners meetings. That was just a thrill for me. He and his wife just had a great time. That was kind of the one exposure I had with Coach. I've always admired him obviously. Guys who are coach's kids, you feel like you have that special understanding I guess."
Baltimore Ravens S Bernard Pollard(on playing his former team) "It's going to be a lot of fun. The biggest thing that I've said, I've said it for a long time, same thing I said when I was there last year and played Kansas City, it's not about me. This game is bigger than me. This is a time where our team is coming off a bye. We need a win. We want to go for a win and Houston is in the way."
(on if he looks at the game as just another game on the schedule) "Most definitely. I can't look at it and be pissed about whatever because this is a business. This is what happens in this League. You make business decisions. You keep guys, you keep coaches. You let go of guys, you let go of coaches. That's just what happens, so I have no hard feelings. I'm just ready to play football."
(on OLB Terrell Suggs saying the game is personal for him) "When you have teammates sticking up for you like that, I think that just shows you the kind of character we have on this team. Every guy's going to fight for each guy, no matter what. If we're playing teams that they've been on former teams or whatever, guys are going to go out there and fight for that. Like I continue to tell them, let's not make this about BP because it's not. This is about the Ravens are playing another opponent that just so happens to be the team that I used to be on. We're excited. We're ready to play and it's going to be fun. It's going to be fun because I'll get to see the players, especially coming off the season like we had last year, just to see the success that they're having. It's early. It's early for both teams, but at the same time, this is a win that each team wants, so we're going out there and battle."
(on the opportunity the Texans gave him) "You know what, God opened the door for me. (Founder, Chairman and CEO) Mr. McNair and (Executive Vice President/General Manager) Rick (Smith), they did a great job as far as doing a background check on me and they pulled the trigger. I'm thankful for that. I've always said when I've talked to you guys, I've said to them, I told them, I thanked them personally. I had a blast. I really did. I had a blast with my time in Houston, but nevertheless it's time to move on. I can't dwell on any of that because I didn't end up there. I was there, played two seasons. They made a business decision after last season to go in another direction and that was fine. That's fine with me and they're doing good and I'm excited for them. I'm happy for them, but at the end of the day, I'm on a new team and we are excited to play football."
(on how close he is with players on the Texans) "Glover (Quin), me and him talk all the time. That is my dog. I've said that from day one. He is just a high-class, top guy. Me and him always talk and not just put down anybody else because if I see them, I talk to them, a text message or whatever with a few other guys or whatever, but other than that, Glover's pretty much the only guy I talk to on a regular basis."
(on the Texans offense) "Like I said before to reporters here and in the past, (Head Coach Gary Kubiak) Kubiak is probably one of the greatest offensive minds I've seen. The guy knows how to do things. Like I told the guys here, he is going to dress his offense up. He's going to do whatever he can to keep everybody thinking and that explains his offensive mind. He's going to keep you on the edge of your seat. That is exciting. It's going to be exciting to come out here and try to figure things out. When we watch film, we see what we're getting and that's a really good offense. You guys know, this is a top-notch offense, top-three offense in the League the last five years I think it's been. We know what we're going to get, really good players, high tempo, line's going to be moving, so it's going to be exciting."
(on RB Arian Foster) "Arian (Foster) looks good and I'm happy for that man. He has done a great job. Last year, we all know what he did. Then to come back, come off of an injury and to come and rush, what was it, the last two games like he ran the ball. The guy's doing a really good job and I'm happy for him, but the thing about it is who I'm actually excited (for), I'm excited about Arian, but (Ben) Tate is running the rock. Just to see everything happen the way it did last year with him and then now to see him bounce back, he's really running the ball. It's going to be exciting because they're going to run the ball and that's one thing that I love to see, but at the end of the day, you know you've got to get in there at some point."
(on learning from S Ed Reed and other defensive backs) "Playing next to Ed (Reed) is phenomenal. The guy is the greatest safety to play this game. He knows his game, run game, pass game, he knows it. He watches film every single day. Just me being around him and him showing me so many different things of how to attack offenses or attack defenders, the guy, he is phenomenal. I can't say enough about him. Just this whole team period, just the way they view the game, just the heart that they have for each other, just the love that they have for each other, these guys don't play no games. They fight for each other no matter what and that's what I love because me coming here, seeing them and me playing next to 10 other guys who want to do the same thing I want to do. I want to go out there and strike fear in everybody I'm playing against, the guys on the bench, guys on the offensive side of the ball, the coaches. That's the greatest thing about being here."
(on playing for Head Coach John Harbaugh) "He's just a high-tempo guy. He's a guy that's going to say whatever he's got to say to get his team ready. He knows and understands his players, but at the end of the day, he's the head coach. Some people are not going to like him. Some people are not going to whatever, but at the end of the day, when people respect you, that's what they have to do to a head coach because everybody's not going to like what he has to do. Everybody's not going to like the decision he makes, but that's fine. Just to see the fire and passion in him and to see kind of the way he lets his team run the team. This is a veteran-savvy team and so pretty much the team runs the team."
(on playing with FB Vonta Leach) "Vonta is still Vonta, so everything ya'll saw from him in Houston, he's still the same here. He's just got a little more money in his pocket. Vonta's been great. Just to see him, just to see the way he takes on the game, his locker's actually right next to mine, so we always go back talking about comparing things we do here to Houston and we both had a blast in Houston. Just to see him here grow, he is growing. He knows he's in a position to, they're asking certain things of him, not to say that Houston didn't, but they're asking certain things of him and he loves being in the position he's in. It's fun to see him play."
(on playing with ILB Ray Lewis) "The most intense player I've ever seen in my life and just to see the consistency Ray plays the game at the level he's playing at and to be 36 years old, 37 years old, this guy is playing ball. He plays no games. He's goes out there. He's looking to strike fear in everybody he plays against. He knows the game inside and out. You can't tell a guy that's been in the League 16 years, what can you tell him? But he doesn't walk around like that. He has a humble heart. The guy loves his team. He loves doing what he do. He is a family man. He is a community man. He does it all. Like I said, he doesn't hold anything over anybody's head. He's practiced every single day. He practices his butt off. We came off a bye week Monday and this guy was just flying around practice on Monday. That's just fun for me to see and just the things that he says in the huddle before the game, you can't do anything but want to go out there and die for him."
(on if he and FB Vonta Leach have had conversations about what it means to play against their old team) "We really haven't, to be honest with you. We really haven't. Like I said, this is just a regular game. This is a regular game on our schedule, a team that's in our way. We're looking to go somewhere. We're looking to go somewhere and we're not saying that they're not looking to go somewhere, but they are in our way and where we want to go, we have to go through them to get there. That's just how it is."
(on if he's noticed the mentality of the Texans changing) "They made some changes. They made some changes, but I think any time they change the system, they're 3-4 instead of a 4-3 now, so they're able to create certain things with the move. I think (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips) did a great job as far as putting players in certain positions. Other than that, I really haven't even looked too much into it. I don't watch too much football outside of watching film. I don't watch it when I'm at home. I don't need to watch it. I come in here and play it, so I don't like to watch it. I really don't too much know anything about Houston or any other team as far as what they're doing, unless I'm watching them on film and what I've seen on film is the offensive side of the ball and then the offensive side of the ball here telling me about the defense. They're doing a great job. We just got to go out there and beat them."